Could woman’s used car dilemma have been avoided?

Woman's used car dilemma can be avoided
Published: Mar. 24, 2022 at 4:57 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 24, 2022 at 6:13 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Brenda Coleman needed a new car right away after her old one broke down.

She went to auto trends on Florida Boulevard to buy a used, Toyota Scion. After driving it off the lot, and on her way home - she says the car broke down.

The dealership installed a new radiator at no charge.

But she said the very next day - she broke down again.

“From then on I’ve never been able to use the car. So they have my money and the car,” Coleman said, “This is 5,195 dollars that I’m out of.”

She said the dealer told her, that time, the car needed a new motor.

But six days after dropping it off, she had not heard from them.

“No one called Friday, no one called Monday, no one called. Until Tuesday, I gave them a call and I said what is going on with the car?” Coleman said, “He said I’ll give you, I’ll pay 50 percent of what it’s going to cost. I said ‘what do you mean 50 percent, how much is that going to cost?’ he said, ‘I don’t know it could be one thousand dollars, two thousand, three, I don’t know, and if you don’t like that you can get a lawyer.”

She said - when she bought her car - she signed this agreement saying she was buying it “as is”

But according to the paperwork - the dealership did agree to clean the motor and check for oil leaks within 14 days of her purchase.

The question now -- should she should have to pay for any of the new motor since she bought the car “as is”?

“The agreement was, I get the car back to them, and they would fix the car. So that’s what I did, I got a tow truck and I got the car delivered back to Auto Trends and so now Auto Trends still has my money and they have the car,” Coleman said.

We spoke with Louisiana Used Motor Vehicle Commission about what people should do when buying used.

“Test drive it, in traffic, out of traffic, and once you come back with it and you still like it, you’re wanting to move forward with the purchase, then you need to have your own mechanic come out there are look at it,” compliance investigator Monroe Allmond said, also adding that you should check for the buyers’ guide.

We called the dealership about Mrs. Coleman’s car but they did not call us back.

But after our call to them - a dealer there - Damien Bowling - did contact Mrs. Coleman.

“Damien Bowling sent me a text at 11:14 and he said ‘can you please give Auto Trends a call?’ ... and he said that he would like to offer me another car or my money back, so I told him I want my money back,” Coleman said.

A happy ending for this case - and a warning that oftentimes “as is” means just that. So it’s important to make sure you know exactly what you’re buying.

Louisiana Used Motor Vehicle Commission offers a used car buying guide on its website.

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